On the first Sunday of every month (with rare but regular exceptions), we LDS folk change our routine up a bit. Instead of the normal 35 minutes of talks from pre-selected members of the congregation, we leave the time open for anybody to come up and share a particularly uplifting thought. Anybody can come up and say just about anything.
These are typically the most uplifting and inspiring meetings and I look forward to them every month. Lately, so does my oldest son (4 yrs old), Bubbers. For the past couple of months, he has requested (alright, begged) that we let him go up and bear his testimony. After a few practices, we decided he was ready today. He knew what he wanted to say and he knew how to say it.
About a year ago, I was pushing our youngest, Scooters, around the church for his morning nap. I could hear the people speaking over the PA system in the hall. After completing a circuit around the building, I heard Heidi’s voice piping through the system. I knew she was bearing her testimony. Knowing she was alone with Bubbers, I peeked in to see who she had watching him while she was up on the stand. To my surprise, Bubbers was now at the microphone, repeating what Heidi told him.
I had very mixed emotions, frankly. I was very proud that he wanted to be up there but I also know the Church issued a guideline a few years ago that anybody who bears their testimony should be able to do so on their own. You’ll find out why in a few paragraphs.
When we arrived at church, Bubbers was SO excited! Every five minutes he kept asking if it was his turn. When a young woman went up to receive her Primary graduation, he asked if it was his turn. When our bishopric counselor sat down after announcements, he asked if it was his turn. For the 10th time, we told him his turn would come after the Sacrament. He waited as patiently as he could.
Finally, his turn came. And though he started off very well, (got the stepstool by himself, stayed the right distance from the microphone) he got a little overwhelmed by seeing 250 people staring back at him. And then he went from uplifting to silly.
I tried to help him out but he was unable to focus and I ended up having to take him screaming from the stand, out stage left.
We exited the building and walked around the woods outside for a bit. He calmed down and we talked about what happend, how he was scared because of all the people, etc. I explained that testimony meeting was for uplifting others, not being silly or making them laugh.
The funny thing was, he insisted the entire time that he wanted to go back and try again. That he liked bearing his testimony and wanted to do it again, today. I told him it would probably be a long time before he could try again in Sacrament Meeting but that he’d have chances in Primary. This was unacceptable but we agreed to table the issue.
Why I’m Proud of Him
Later on, when he was in bed for his afternoon nap, I told him I wanted to talk about what happened. I told him he did at least three things I was proud of:
- He wanted to bear his testimony. I had a hard time with that for so long and I really don’t want him to lose that.
- He didn’t run away when he was scared. He tried to push through, even though he forgot what he wanted to say.
- He wanted to try again to do something that scared him. This was huge to me and I take my hat off to the kid. He wanted to face those same 250 people again with the attitude of “I can do it myself.” Good for you, kid. You must get that from your Mom.
I must have laid it on a little thick because he kept asking me to “say more things about today!”
I told Heidi later on that I want to teach Bubbers that he should be failing regularly, because he’s trying new things. I hope he’s comfortable being uncomfortable and willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish his goal.
Somehow, it already seems like he’s on his way.